President Kwame Nkrumah's diary, which dates From the mid-1960s, has been at the centre of a long legal battle between an American businessman, who insists he acquired the diary legitimately, and an African scholar from Kenya, who has convinced the Eastern District Court of" Pennsylvania in the US that the diary rightly belongs to Ghana and to the Nkrumah family and should be returned to Africa (pending the receipt of authentication documentation from Ghana).
"This is not the diary of just some ordinary person," explains Vincent Mbirika, the Kenyan-born, New York-based scholar and amateur investigator who doggedly tracked down and succeeded in retrieving the diary from the American who had it in his possession for many years.
Mbirika considers himself a kind of African "Indiana Jones", rescuing important African historical artifacts from the US and Europe and returning them to Africa.
A persuasive man, Mbirika convinced US judge R. Barclay Surrick, who is best known for dismissing a lawsuit alleging that President Barack Obama was not born in the US and so was ineligible to be president, to rule that the 100-page diary, which offers intriguing details of President Nkrumah's public and personal life, should be returned to Ghana.
The American, New York businessman Robert Shulman, claims he was given the diary years ago by a Ghanaian who got it from a nephew of Nkrumah's. The nephew claimed that he was at his uncle's bedside when he died in 1972 in Romania, and that he decided to put the diary and other items into a briefcase for safekeeping. Somehow, along the way, the diary, several photographs, and dozens of documents ended up, far from home, in the United States.
"This is the diary of Kwame Nkrumah, and Nkrumah being who he was, even a small piece of paper that he touched is important," says Mbirika. "I will retrieve anything that belongs to Africa," he vows.
The diary entries start from the mid-1960s, when the Osagyefo was president, and run to the late 1960s when he had been deposed and was living in exile in Guinea as a guest of President Sekou Toure.
One entry, from 1966, the year Nkrumah was ousted by the military, mentions the purchase of military equipment from the Soviet Union. In another entry, from 1968, when Nkrumah was living in Guinea, the former president instructs his wife, Fathia, to "take care" of their children--Gamal Gorkeh, Sekou, and Samia (who is now an MP in Ghana and head of the...